So here’s a whole mess of stills from the upcoming KBS drama Dream High, which is probably most known because it’s the collaboration of actor-mini-mogul Bae Yong-joon and kpop producer/svengali Park Jin-young, and stars lots of young idol stars.
It’s for those three reasons that I’ve been pretty leery of the drama, not because I hate kpop (I do like it, promise!) but because I feel like it’s hard enough to get dramas right when the production is in the hands of people who are experts at it. When you throw a bunch of people in there who are totally green and not experienced in this world, it’s a crapshoot at best. But even so, I still want to hope for the best, because I have a soft spot for high school dramas (there really aren’t enough of those — at least not good ones) and youthful exuberance. And I do kinda like that you can take the title as a noun and a verb (as in, high school of dreams and “Dream high!”).
And hey, I love impressive rising talent Kim Soo-hyun (Giant, Will It Snow For Christmas), who’s the only actor of the young crew who’s just an actor (as in, not a pop idol). He’s got tons of talent and great presence onscreen, and plays a character who lives in a tiny town with his mother. When he encounters a Seoul girl (Hye-mi) one day, he falls for her at first sight and does everything for her, which leads him to the Kirin Arts School where he discovers his own musical talent.
I have no prior knowledge of Suzy from Miss A, and her performance will probably make-or-break the drama, because she’s got the lead role (along with Kim Soo-hyun and Taecyeon). She plays Hye-mi, a girl who’s used to being the best at everything though she’s also got a rude personality. But when her father’s business fails, she has to give up her vocal training and decides to pursue auditions at Kirin to become a pop singer, a path she’d previously eschewed as crude and shallow.
I thought 2PM’s Taecyeon did a decent job in Cinderella’s Sister; he has a tendency to come off a little smug, but his energy and vitality went a long way. His character here was given up to an orphanage as a young boy by his single mother. He was then adopted by his paternal grandfather, who is a rich businessman and CEO, but he was practically invisible in that household. His character takes a new name as he leaves that family and starts a new life; now he dances with friends on the street, and happens upon the auditions for Kirin Arts School.
I’m iffier on T-ara’s Eunjung, whose performance in Coffee House was sometimes shaky; she often overdid the dumb cute act, but the girl can really cry on cue. She plays Hye-mi’s sidekick, who’s content to always be her No. 2, who’s often ignored by those around her, even her own mother. When Hye-mi gives up dreams of Juilliard and aims for Kirin instead, she follows along, and it’s only then that she starts to dream for herself.
Another name I’m not familiar with is Wooyoung, who plays Jason, who comes back to Korea after living in the States. He’s got perfect singing and dancing talent (enough to earn him the descriptor ‘genius’), but no interest in competing with others; he just enjoys music.
Singer IU rounds out the main cast as a girl who, appropriately enough, possesses impressive vocal skills. Bright, pretty, and sensitive, she seems like the type who’ll be easy to love. Example: Once at a Kim Hyun-joong concert, he shouted, “Victory!” Mistaking the word (pil-seung) for her own name, Pil-sook dashed onstage, making her a legend among fans. She falls for Jason right away.
The adult cast features actors like Eom Ki-joon and Lee Yoon-ji as teachers at Kirin.
Dream High is slated for 16 episodes and takes up the Monday-Tuesday timeslot on KBS following the current series Mary Stayed Out All Night. It premieres January 3.
- Lee Yoon-ji joins idol-laden cast of Dream High
- Kim Soo-hyun signs on as Dream High’s lead
- Kang Hye-jung and Lee Yoon-ji in Proof
- Dream High scheduled for winter premiere
- Yun-ho gets rescued in Heading to the Ground
- Heading to the Ground’s press conference day